Disney Epic Mickey has been talked about for a long time. Any frequent visitor to the big videogame sites will no doubt have seen or read something about it. Hailed as the next big thing on Wii, a potential Mario-killer and the game to bring Mickey Mouse back into the spotlight. Warren Spector’s creation is finally here, but is it an Epic Win or will you want to be Burning Down the Mouse?
Epic Mickey is a mix of two game styles. It is largely a 3D platformer, with a huge sprawling world to explore. On the flip side of this are more traditional 2D levels set in classic Disney cartoons as well as the ability to make real-time changes to the world around you, thus changing how characters and events occur. The plot of the game is simple, Mickey Mouse; the most famous cartoon of all time is sucked into an ugly, desolate wasteland modeled on the Disneyland theme park, with Oswald the Rabbit as the star in place of Mickey. In this world dwell the forgotten characters from Disney cartoons. The games bad guys also live in this land, the Blots, who Mickey sets out to destroy with a magic paintbrush.
It is the magic paintbrush which is the key to the whole game. It has the ability to paint or to thin. For example, huge sections of the wasteland appear transparent; with a point of the Wiimote you can paint the world around you so it appears once more. If you paint an enemy, it will become friendly towards you and battle your enemies on your behalf. If you use thinner, you can eradicate enemies and scenery. For example if a load of enemies are running at you, you can shoot thinner at the floor, making it disappear so they plummet into the burning lava below. There is a huge air of freedom about the game and it never seems like a tact on feature. In fact some puzzles require clever use of these powers, which has yours truly stumped ion a few occasions!
The levels are huge and a delight to explore. The wasteland is brilliantly designed, with empty fairground rides giving off a creepy somewhat sad vibe. Sadly this is where some of the games problems start to show themselves. Seeing as the game is based around platforming, some of the controls do not seem to lend themselves well. There are time when you fail to land jumps, only to land in pits of burning thinner, which kill you instantly. These instances occur far too often and are not helped by the somewhat troublesome camera. The game gives you control over the camera, but the button layout is awkward on the Wiimote and moves too slowly in the game. Also I found when pointing the Wiimote at the screen to aim the paintbrush, it was slightly jerky and not 100% accurate. These are minor niggles, but in a 3D platformer hoping to capture Mario’s crown, they should have been scrutinized to death.
Epic Mickey is without a doubt one of the best looking games on Wii. In fact, some of the effects and level design beat some 360 games hands down. The level design is fantastic, not on par with Mario Galaxy’s however. The only drawback is that the colours of the wasteland are rather grey and drab; however, as mentioned before, you can paint the world back so it is again beautiful. Mickey himself is brilliantly animated, little touches such as his body stretching as he jumps and the effect of painting an enemy are fantastic and bring a smile to ones face. The 2d platforming sections are also fantastic to look at, and genuinely look like real cartoons. It is a shame that each one only takes about a minute to complete. Nostalgia buffs will no doubt enjoy these sections the most especially as they are combined with original Disney soundtracks. The music needs a mention as it too is brilliant, with familiar tunes playing as well as a new orchestral score in the wasteland sections. The Fantasia level, being the musical highlight of the whole game for me.
Epic Mickey is a brilliant game and deserves to do well. Some control and camera issues do frustrate at times but the level design and presentation outshine the faults. Epic Mickey is a fantastic game to bring Mickey Mouse back into gamers hearts.
Huge, brilliantly designed levels to explore and paintbrush is genius.
Levels are amazing, great special effects and fantastic animations
Excellent Disney tunes & sound effects, Mickey’s voice slightly annoying!